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Samira Rekabdar's Silent Voice

By Minoo Minaie, Tehran (introduction by Ali Moayedian, Silicon Valley, California)

Introduction: During my Iran trip in summer of 2002, I paid a visit to the Hafe Tir rehabilitation center for physically disabled girls and wrote a report about it . This was a touching experience for me and at the same time made many people aware of this place and its residents.

In early March 2009, about 7 years later, I received an email from a woman in Tehran. A I read through the lines, my heart was touched once again:


I read your online report at Payvand's Iran News about the "visit to Tehran's Hafte Tir Rehabilitation center." In fact I was searching on the internet for this center (since I was planning to go there and wanted to learn about it before doing so) when luckily I came across your report.

Since you had done a wonderful job of providing details about the center, from finding the place to talking to the director Ms. Haghighatjoo, describing her personality and that of the girls at the center, the sound of the daf (Persian percussion musical instrument), the bread oven, ... I'm now writing this letter to you. I thought for someone who has paid attention to so many details, reading about the experience of another person about the center may be interesting to you.

Therefore, it's better that you know I got to know about the center. Fortunately, unlike you, I didn't have any problem finding the center, since I've been living close to it for about five years now; and I've passed by it many times. I've also repeatedly observed those birds with their broken wings moving around with difficulty on their worn out wheelchairs. I was always saddened by this and wondered why life has to be like this for some? And worse yet, why people observing these girls are thanking God for being healthy and they look at them with pity? You may ask now about my own feelings and what I've done about this? Since I'm a very emotional person, I never thought I could go that place and form a close relationship with them. But believe me I always thought that someone from behind the small windows of those rooms is calling me "I exist."

Finally, around middle of fall 2008, that is about 5 months ago, there was a charity event at that center and fortunately this time I was able to participate and in a different way get to know the girls living there and find out about their capabilities.  There was a table covered with different handicrafts and some of the girls were doing a great sales job about them. There I noticed a tick book, and as soon as I touched that book, a young girl, with a very kind tone, very happily told me: "You should definitely read this book. This is the book of Samira's poems that has finally been published."  I bought the book and was looking around for Samira when in that crowded space I heard someone from behind, with a hard to understand voice, tries to say: "I'm Samira."  I turned around and said hello to Samira, a girl around 24 or 25 years old, on a wheelchair. She had a beautiful smile, happy that her book had been picked up by someone.  But in the depth of her eyes, I could see a sadness which touched me. Unfortunately we couldn't engage in a conversation. I was too excited, and so was she.  But I managed to thank her a lot for her book and then left.

When I arrived home, I had a special feeling. I opened the book quickly and started reading. The first page was a short history about Samira's life. It was then that I found out why she couldn't talk to me. Since she was inflicted with Cerebral Paralysis from childhood.  Then I got to her beautiful poems. I have to say, without any exaggeration, I read them several times and was deeply moved by them, since all her poems were indicative of her sorrow. And as I kept reading them, I felt she is the same person whom I thought was looking at me from behind the fenced windows and crying with her silent voice. 

The next day I went to that center again and tried to establish a better connection with Samira. Fortunately, and in spite of all the difficulties, we were able to talk to each other. I praised her book a lot and bought a few more to personally market them for her.  Since then, we have been in regular contact. I visit her every now and then, with the excuse of selling her books and to encourage her to write more books, with an optimistic and positive view of course.

I hope that with this long email written in Fargelisi [1] I haven't worn you out.  But perhaps it was your own fault that wrote a report in that manner and made me write this email to you!

Finally, you'll make me happy if you can offer suggestions about marketing Samira's book.

Hoping for a day when we can take more steps for the happiness of others!



Samira Rekabdar

Reading that long email in Fargelisi wasn't easy. But I read every word very carefully and digested it. It was a letter from the heart. It also refreshed my memories of the center. I contacted Minoo and thanked her for her letter and asked her if she can send me the some information about the book and perhaps a photo of Samira. She kindly accepted and a couple of weeks later fulfilled the request. The next part was the tough one. Translating everything. That took a long time for which I've blamed myself every day. But it's finally done. So here it is...

Majal Hozour: Poems of Samira Rekabdar

I, Samira Rekabdar, with the pen name ' Baran ', born on 60/6/25 (9/16/1981), through this book share with you dear readers my poems, or in fact the sweet and bitter moments of my life. Since my birth, I have had a particular physical handicap, known by the physicians as a handicap of the nature CP, or Cerebral Paralysis. I was one year old when my father passed away to meet the angels and left me, my mother and my brother alone. My mother who had a golden heart, did whatever she could do. Throughout my whole life, I was there to witness her compassion and sympathy. I was nine years old when the page was turned in my life. I had to put the step in the world of adults, and our little house didn't have the facilities to make me ready to enter the world of grown-ups. Therefore, we decided that I move to one of the centers of the rehabilitation organization. During six months in Shahroud, I stayed in Somayeh rehabilitation centre, then for 12 years in Mashhad in the Fayazbakhsh rehabilitation centre, and since the year 1382 (2003) when I moved to Tehran, I have stayed in the rehabilitation centre of Martyrs of Seventh Tir.

Since the age of 12, I used to sleep and wakeup with poetry. I used to live and breathe with it. My handicap prevented me to transfer my poems to the white heart of the paper. Most of my poems used to march through one another until someone would come and kindly put them on the paper. That was not the only difficulty, since at times even my tongue failed to help me. It was as if I lived on the planet Mars, and a translator who could understand my language and transmit my words to the one who listens to me was yet to appear. Considering these difficulties, it was impossible to tape these poems and then rewrite them.

The story of birth of this book begins with a valuable gift, a computer, kindly presented to me by my very dear friend Mrs. Robabeh Modiri.

Now I am able to free my poems from the prison of my mind. Currently my poems roll softly over the keyboard of my computer and appear on its screen.

This story didn't end there. My kind friends encouraged me to free my writings from the tight limitations of my diary. They cared more than me for my writings and wanted to publish them and share my sentiments with you. They wanted to complete their kindness toward me. All the same, the utmost blame (!) for publishing this book should be put on Dr. Derakhshan, and if you wish to use bad language to someone because of the contents of this book, from all various points of view, he is the most deserving person. But for sure he does not deserve that language and please address that bad language to this humble person.

In conclusion, I'm aware that it is not customary to offer flowers to the poems of an indigent. But as the saying goes "there is no shame for the young to be wishful." So perhaps a bunch of flowers, a piece of sugar, or a stone will be sent by an archangel from the seventh sky -- via registered mail -- to this transformed poet. Surely the esteemed publisher too will have a share of this divine gift too.


Waiting for your comments
Tehran, fall of 86 (2007)



If I could be myself in this world, maybe I could avoid being overpowered by the difficulties and maybe the others would look at me differently.

How wonderful it would be if I could change the way people view the handicapped. Maybe then, a handicapped could have a better place in our society and the others would not look at her with pity.

I wish I could pass a law so that everyone would know that even a bird with broken wings has the right to live and do not put conditions for its existence. If I could pave all the streets of the city, and if I could remove the steps, then maybe for me and those like me there were a road for progress toward the future. Because then, on the way to the school, or to the university, or to the office, there were no need for us to look at the hands of others to help us. Or most passersby would not continue their way after giving us a glance, and that's the time there is be no choice but to retreat and to grieve.

I look forward to the day, where all the people of this city look nicely at the broken-wing-birds.

Thanks to Samira and Minoo for sharing this with us. I hope Samira will continue enlightening us by writing more books! And I hope she will receive the support that she deserves.

... Payvand News - 10/02/09 ... --

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